Streamlight Macrostream USB
Dan Z. for TTAG
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We’ve know personal defense trainers who will tell you that one of the best self defense tools you can carry is a good flashlight. If you’re in a dark parking lot or garage and someone begins to approach you, they teach that clicking on your light and shining it at the person approaching you can make them change their mind. A bright beam directed in the face will make almost anyone stop and shade their eyes, giving you time to assess the situation and react.

That’s why a lot of people make sure that — along with a gun and a knife — they don’t leave home without some kind of light in their pocket. And there’s virtually nowhere you can’t carry one.

Streamlight rolled out the new Macrostream USB flashlight at January’s SHOT Show and I’ve been carrying the Macrostream USB for years now.┬áIt’s a one AA-size everyday carry light with two brightness settings that’s capable of generating enough output to illuminate just about any situation.

Streamlight Macrostream USB
A Streamlight Microstream single AAA light (above) and the Macrostream USB (below) (Dan Z. for TTAG)

You’ve probably seen their uber-popular Microstream, a one AAA light, that’s a favorite of everyday gear carriers. The Macrostream USB is about an inch longer and, of course, thicker. But while the Microstream puts out a mere 45 lumens (a USB version can generate as much as 250 lumens) the Macrostream can generate as much as 500 lumens. And it’s big enough to use as an improvised weapon if you had to.

Streamlight Macrostream USB
Dan Z. for TTAG

The Microstream USB beam is rated at 90 meters and throws a wide, even field of light.

Streamlight Macrostream USB
Dan Z. for TTAG

As you might have guessed, the USB in Macrostream USB means the light is rechargeable.

Streamlight Macrostream USB
Dan Z. for TTAG

The charging port is concealed under an O-ring sealed sliding shroud. The port glows red while charging and goes green when it’s complete.

Streamlight Macrostream USB
Dan Z. for TTAG

The Macrostream USB actuates with a rubber end cap switch. One click gives you full 500 lumen output. A quick partial press followed by another gives you 50 lumens of lower power, perfect for most indoor situations when you only need to see where you’re going or light up a dark area without killing your night vision.

 

Streamlight Macrostream USB
Dan Z. for TTAG

While the Macrostream USB is a one AA-size light, it won’t work on AA cells. That’s a shame, because AA batteries are available everywhere. The good news is that the Streamlight’s rechargeable lithium ion battery will give you eight hours of low power use and two hours at full output.

Streamlight says a full charge takes four hours. I’ve never run it all the way down, so can’t testify to that, but whenever I’ve wanted to top off the battery’s charge, it’s never taken more than about 30 minutes at most.

Streamlight Macrostream USB
The Streamlight USB’s lens has a diffuser in the center which produces a smooth, even beam of light (Dan Z. for TTAG)

Unlike more “tactical” lights, the Streamlight USB doesn’t have a crenelated bezel, which can be useful in a defensive situation. If you’re someone who wants standard AA battery capability in a more tactical flashlight design, you’ll probably want to look at Streamlight’s PROTAC 1L-1AA. It has a crenelated bezel and a shrouded end cap switch. Then again, it only puts out 350 lumens, has a shorter high end run time, and weighs a little more.

Streamlight Macrostream USB
Dan Z. for TTAG

Like almost all of Steamlight’s flashlights, the Macrostream has a two-way clip.

Streamlight Macrostream USB
Courtesy Streamlight

The clip lets you put the light on the bill of your hat and use it as a head lamp.

Streamlight Macrostream USB
Dan Z. for TTAG

What makes the Macrostream USB a great choice as an EDC light is that it’s so light weight. A mere 2.2 ounces barely registers in your pocket, so you won’t give it a second thought as you go about your appointed rounds. It’s IPX4 rated for water resistance, so you can get it wet without worry (though it’s not rated for complete submersion).

The Macrostream USB comes with a lanyard, and charging cord for about $54.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Heres how shining a light in someone’s face would work on these streets around here.
    ” Get that GDamn light out of my face before I shove it up your ass and kick the sht out of you. WTF is your problem?”

    • Exactly. it’d likely end up getting shoved somewhere where the sun don’t shine normally. I have heard that with some folks the sun does shine out of their asses. Maybe it was just one of these annoying flashlights.

  2. plenty of options out there that can use a substituded aa battery. good enough for edc, but off grid you want standardized capability.
    i guess tactical folks would want the initial click to go high burst. all of mine are set to moonlight low first press.
    check out lep (laser excited phosphor) emitters. i thought my lumintop was throwy…

  3. The fact that “AA batteries are everywhere” is precisely the reason why I’d buy the regular battery-powered version vs. the USB model.

    I like Streamlight stuff. My first Microstream lasted through seven years of very heavy use. I replaced it without hesitation.

  4. NEBO Redline Flex_All that and more. Two light levels, magnetic base, and can be either rechargeable(14500) or AA. $30-$35 at most of our local auto parts stores. Very nice Light.

    • Have you ever seen the Nebo catalog? It’s bonkers how many lights they offer. I’ve got 4 of the “little larry”model that I bought at the cycle shop I worked at ten years ago and they still work perfectly. Rotating magnetic clip you can hook on your shirt for hands-free illumination. Good stuff! (stupid name)

  5. Nice, but “NO” on the proprietary battery.

    I’ve been carrying the Streamline Protac 2L-x (the CR123A version) for about 3 year as my EDC. Reliable. 500 Lumens on the high setting. Rugged aluminum casing. Crenalated bezel. I do like my EDC sitting on a charger because, well, it is my EDC. So I have a supply of lithium-Ion batteries as well as some rechargeable.

    Around the house, a variety of hand-held lights. Lots of them because my women-folk NEVER put them back where they belong. So I compensate for the lack of organization by supplying quantity.

  6. Thanks for the honest take on the Macrostream USB! The AA incompatibility definitely throws a wrench in the works, especially considering their universal availability. While the rechargeable lithium ion battery sounds good, having to rely solely on it (and its four-hour charge time) can be a dealbreaker for some, especially in situations where access to power might be limited. Basketball Random is waiting to test your skills and unleash your inner streetball legend. It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s just a click away.

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